Right-clicking a folder or file in Windows 10 File Explorer triggers a context menu with an array of commands, including several from third-party applications. But as you install more apps, this menu can become cluttered with a lengthy list of entries. Many of these are commands you will likely never use and that make the menu more difficult to navigate (Figure A).
For Windows 11, Microsoft truncated the menu to the bare essentials as a way to pare it down. You can remove commands from the menu in Windows 10, but that requires diving into the Registry and hunting for several different keys. Instead, you can more easily trim and prune the menu through two third-party utilities from NirSoft called ShellMenuView and ShellExView.
To help you edit the right-click menu in Windows 10 File Explorer, ShellMenuView displays entries located in certain Registry keys, while ShellExView reveals those in another set of Registry keys. Therefore, you’ll want to use both tools to reach as many commands as possible.
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Though both utilities are helpful, dealing with all of the possible commands in the right-click menu can still prove challenging. This is due to the context-sensitive nature of the menu, which means that the menu changes depending on whether you right-click on a folder or a file and on what type of file you click. For that reason, the best way to use these tools is to open them side-by-side with File Explorer with the right-click menu open so you can see the commands you wish to remove.
First, download ShellMenuView and ShellExView from the NirSoft website. Neither program requires installation. Just unzip the downloaded files. Typically, you would use ShellMenuView first to remove certain key entries and then turn to ShellExView to clean up commands that ShellMenuView doesn’t show.
Open ShellMenuView, and the program displays many of the possible commands in the context-sensitive menu listed alphabetically (Figure B).
Open File Explorer and right-click any folder to open the context-sensitive menu. Then position ShellMenuView and File Explorer side-by-side (Figure C).
Now pick a specific command from the File Explorer menu that you never use and want to remove. Look for its entry in the ShellMenuView window. For example, maybe there’s a command in the menu for Add to Windows Media Player list that you don’t want or need to use or see. Look for that entry in ShellMenuView. You’ll find several references to it, each listing a different extension, including file extensions as well as directories. You can start by removing the entries for directories so that this command will no longer appear when you right-click on a folder. You can then move to specific file types.
To remove an entry in ShellMenuView, right-click on it and select Disable Selected Items. You can select multiple entries, right-click on them, and then select Disable Selected Items (Figure D).
Try the same for other commands in the context-sensitive menu. Be sure to review the ones for third-party applications. Beyond right-clicking on a folder in File Explorer, right-click on a few different types of files to see a different set of context-sensitive commands. You want to try to access as many entries as possible so that you can easily locate them in ShellMenuView. If you can’t locate a particular command, ShellMenuView offers a search feature through which you can find an entry by filename (Figure E).
Next, open ShellExView and display it side-by-side with File Explorer with the right-click menu visible from a folder. In ShellExView, look for entries that have Context Menu as the type as listed in the third column. To ease this process, sort the list by Type. To remove any commands in ShellExView, right-click on it and select Disable Selected items (Figure F).
If you receive a warning about disabling a specific command, then leave that one alone. If you run into any problems disabling a command, you can always right-click on it and select Enable selected item. When done, right-click a folder and then a file in File Explorer to confirm that the menu is less cluttered and hopefully more usable (Figure G).